28 July, 2020

Why is Everyone Buying a Bicycle During the Pandemic?

Bicycle sales around the world have been on the rise since the beginning of the global pandemic. Shops are seeing massive increases of new cyclists wanting to regain freedom, get outside while remaining socially distant, or increase their physical activity while gyms are closed.

Industry expert Jay Townley says bicycle sales haven’t surged this much since the oil crisis of the 1970s. E-bikes sales are also seeing substantial growth globally, with Dutch e-bike maker VanMoo seeing massive growth in Germany (+226 percent), the UK (+184 percent), the Netherlands (+140 percent), the US (+138 percent), and France (+92 percent).

Cycling: the Safer, Healthier Alternative to Public Transport?

While long-time cyclists have always known the physical benefits, ease-of-use, and sense of community created by cycling, things like quarantine and social distancing have introduced cycling to a whole new group of people. Trek Bicycle released a new survey showing that 85% of Americans believe cycling is a safer alternative to public transit. Bike owners are also highlighting the mental health benefits associated with cycling. In the same survey, it was noted that 63% of Americans feel bike riding helps to relieve stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and 27% of Americans who own a bike use cycling to destress.

From Uncertainty to Booming Sales

Smaller bike shops are also noticing a huge sales increase. While early stages of the pandemic lockdown saw bicycle sales take a hit, as shops are able partially reopen and offer online sales with socially distanced delivery options, owners are saying purchases have been through the roof. A shop owner in Calgary, Canada, says that after losing 75% of business in April, they did four weeks of business in just one during May. A long-standing store in Miami was almost permanently shuttered, but the huge influx of bike purchases has completely turned things around for them.

A Temporary Fad, or a Shift in Transportation Culture?

This sudden increase in sales will leave many wondering if cycling will be just another temporary fad or remain a larger part of transportation culture. Susan Eustis, CEO at WinterGreen, notes that some scientists are predicting risks from COVID-19 will remain for the next three years, which makes her believe cycling will continue to be popular during that time. As we settle into a “new normal,” people are seeking sustainable transportation that allows them to get outside, get where they need to go, and remain active while respecting social distancing.

We are seeing a cultural shift towards cycling being the new norm. We’re excited to see how cities will respond to this growing community of cyclists and smart transportation lovers, hopefully with more sustainable transportation options (and lots more bike lanes!) being offered.

What changes are you seeing in your city?

In Montreal, bike shelves are still empty as people rush to join the cycling community!


:camera_with_flash: Mat Reding

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